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SMSF and investing in property

While using a self-managed super fund (SMSF) to buy an investment property has become increasingly popular, members must carefully consider whether it supports their overall investment strategy before they go ahead with this investment approach.

There is a condition that the SMSF trustee or any of their relatives cannot buy the property with the intention to live in it. The sole purpose of using an SMSF to buy a property must be to build wealth for retirement. With this in mind, a member must buy an investment property for logical reasons and not because they are emotionally attached to it. The importance of the property’s return on investment outweighs the property’s views and facilities.

Before purchasing an investment property, a SMSF member must evaluate how long it will take them to repay the debt. Current rent rates and the level of superannuation payments made by members should provide an indicator of whether it will be paid off in time for retirement. Otherwise, they may need to factor in selling the investment at the time of retirement or putting off their retirement.

Members must also take into consideration that some investment properties are more suited to a SMSF, such as properties with low ongoing and maintenance cost and a high gross rental return. They should avoid buying investment properties with high ongoing maintenance cost as these will only increase unnecessary costs and reduce the net rental income.

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Investing in shares vs property in SMSFs

March 19, 2020

Shares and property are two popular investment options for those with a self-managed super fund (SMSF). However, they both have very different attributes and choosing the one that will achieve the best outcome for an SMSF depends on your personal goals and situation.

While the price of shares can vary drastically, property is a relatively stable asset, making it appealing to those who want more security and predictability. Property prices are also negotiable unlike shares, and you can generally borrow money at a lower rate for property purchases.

It may seem hard to find the perfect investment property, but older and undercapitalised properties can be renovated for profit. However, returns from property rentals can be dented due to factors such as land tax, utilities and rates, maintenance and tenancy vacancies.

Shares are more dynamic and volatile than property. One advantage is the accessibility of investing in shares, as you can enter the share market with a few thousand dollars – much less than what you need to invest in a property.

Maintaining a portfolio of quality shares that pay tax-effective dividends may be a good way to fund retirement. With the right portfolio allocation, shares also have the potential to provide a better, stronger income than property rentals, as long as that income is sustainable and increasing.

Property can generally be used as a wealth-creation tool, while shares can create a reliable retirement income. For those who can afford to put more money into investments, it may be a good idea to consider investing and diversifying in both. If you’re unsure about which investment option is right for you, seeking financial advice may be the best option.